St. Mary's eNews

Term 2 Week 11


Principal Message ~ 26th June

Dear families,

I can’t believe my time at St Mary’s has come to an end.  It wasn’t quite the 2 terms I thought I’d be having as Acting Principal but, as things turned out, it has been an incredible learning opportunity for us all at St Mary’s. 

This has been such a fantastic community to be a part of, and I have really enjoyed my time working with the staff, students and families.  Whilst I am sad to be finishing my time here, I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Sonia, who I am certain will do an amazing job as the new Principal.  I know that she already has a good understanding of the direction of the school and that she is very excited about working with all of you in maximising student learning outcomes and wellbeing.  

My thanks go to all the staff for being so supportive and willing to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things.  This generally happens when someone new comes in and has seen things operate differently.  I really appreciate that staff were always willing to trial any different ideas or approaches that I may have suggested and provide constructive feedback about how that worked (or not!).  It is fantastic to be part of a school community where the essence of all that occurs is based on what is best for our students.  Whether during onsite or remote learning, all staff really contributed to ensuring the best possible learning environment and opportunities for all. 

The school community is also fortunate to have such experienced and dedicated leaders.  I have really appreciated all their work over the past 2 terms and their support of and for me has made my role so much easier.  This team has a very clear and strategic focus for ongoing improvement at St Mary’s.  In particular, I wish to thank Marg Masseni for her tireless efforts in all her work keeping staff, students and parents updated with what was happening, given the very unusual circumstances of Term 2 (and for laughing at my jokes!).   

I will certainly miss the St Mary’s students.  They are such a friendly, happy and engaging group of girls and boys.  It is obvious that they have been taught and are expected to be respectful in the way they interact with adults, but at the same time they are funny and many of them enjoy engaging in banter.  This will be a year for them all to remember too, particularly the Year 6 students.  We all should be very proud of them in the manner they adjusted to remote learning and then transitioned back to school.  Not an easy task, particularly for the Prep students - I wonder if they think that this will happen each year?

It has been fantastic getting to know so many school families during Term 1.  Since then  I have certainly been enjoying the chats at the school gates during drop-off and pick-up duty.  I know that many of you are certainly looking forward to the time when you can once again be more actively involved in the life of the school.  Hopefully, at some stage during Term 3, restrictions will be eased and parents will be once again able to come into the school yard.  Teachers are also certainly looking forward to the opportunity for casual catch-ups once again.

Until our advice from Catholic Education Melbourne changes, the current arrangements for arrivals and the staggered pick-up will remain in place.  I know that you understand that this is to ensure the health and wellbeing of students, staff and families.  I know that many parents are actually finding this easier as they can find a parking spot without too many problems.  

A great big thanks to the 81 families (and counting!) that have already completed the online survey sent home last week.  You have provided us with some excellent insights into how the school can further build our partnership with you. It seems as though there were more positives than negatives during the time of learning at home, with parents indicating they now have a much better understanding of their child’s strengths and challenges as well as an increased appreciation for the work of teachers.  

During their planning sessions this week, staff have spent time reviewing your input and identifying changes in their practice, and other processes and strategies, in response to your feedback.  They will continue to work on ways to further inform and engage with you from the beginning of Term 3.  We will notify you of new initiatives as they are put into place.  

We were relieved that our first time of providing online reports for parents occurred relatively smoothly with only a couple of hiccups.  If any parents have had any issues with accessing their child’s report, please contact the school.  As we will be on holidays, please email me at so we can follow up.  The online student / parent / teacher interviews in week 3 of next term will provide further insights into your child’s learning growth and achievements.  Information regarding booking and accessing your interviews was sent home to you on Wednesday via Care Monkey.

So finally, my best wishes to each and every one of you.  Stay safe during these uncertain times and take care of yourselves and each other.


Kerin Thorneloe


Catholic Care will begin providing counselling services to support the wellbeing of the children attending St. Mary’s Primary School, Altona. Our new counsellor is Rishika Sangeeta. Rishika will be available on Thursday each week, from next Thursday 30th July.

Rishika has been working with schools for the last two years to offering counselling services for children. As the school counsellor, Rishika’s role will involve working with children to support their learning, formation of healthy social relationships, emotional development and self-regulation, as well as offering strategies to reduce challenging behaviours within the classroom, school and home environment. She will work to support the teaching team and liaise with parents, when necessary, to meet the needs of individual children.

If you are interested in availing yourself of the counselling services for you child, please contact Marg Masseni via email ( or the school office.

Marg will provide consent forms that will need to be completed and returned to her. Once the forms are returned to the school, counselling services will commence at the earliest opportunity.



As you would know our Parent / Teacher interviews were held yesterday. Thank you to our staff and parents for engaging in such great conversation to help with the children's learning. As doing these interviews using the Whereby platform was new to us, we would value your feedback.

Please email Marg with your thoughts.


Click on the links to access a range of information & activities across our community, including news & information from the parish and local secondary schools as well as, this week, information about Creative Music and Workshops for parents re teens.
NEW this week...
Church Bulletin 21st October
Emmanuel College Update 21st October
Hobsons Bay Children's Week
Creative Music - Sign up for Term 4

Tuning in to Teens is heading into its Term 4 sessions so we’re getting the word out to parents who may want to join in. This 7-week program is designed to support parents in raising emotionally intelligent teens to improve relationships, communication skills and overall wellbeing.

Two Tuning in to Teens courses will be running in term 4:

  • Wednesday 6 to 8pm from 14th October to 25th November.
  • Wednesday 6.30 to 8.30pm from 28th October to 9th December.

Registrations essential. Learn more over on our

Emmanuel College Update - 16th October
Camp Australia
Joseph's Corner newsletter
Camp Australia